Keywords I am Targeting

Jun 29th

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Keywords I am Targeting

Find your keywords I am targeting resources listed below I get a lot of site review requests for sites that recently took a dive in Google where the page generally follows the above format. Every time their main keyword phrase exists on the page it exists in the exact same format, and it exists about everywhere.

There are two major problems with that format

  1. Over optimization: if a page is obviously targeting a phrase then Google may not want to rank that page for that phrase. When people write naturally (ie: for humans, not engines) there tends to be variations in it. Now some content management systems will cause some parts of the page to be fairly repetitive, but where you can mix it up.

    I see some examples of where Google is ranking a page focused on topic A for topic B just because topic B exists as a navigational element on page topic A. The same site has a more relevant page about the search query but the wrong page ends up ranking sometimes. While that is trashy relevancy from Google, to me that hints at where Google wants to head with their algorithms, showing me that Google is trying to figure out natural writing and reward pages for not being too repetitious or overly focused. They still need to do some serious work on how they interpret navigational elements into the relevancy algorithms, but when they do you can expect them to only get even more aggressive with favoring natural writing over spammy optimized content.

  2. Wasted opportunity: assuming you took the time to create unique content for each page it only takes an extra minute or two to mix things up to help the page rank for a much wider net of keywords.

If you can find a way to mix up your keyword phrases, like:

  • sometimes leave one of the words out

  • sometimes just use one or two of the words isolated from the others
  • use alternate version of the words
  • switch up the word order
  • use modifiers and semantically related text
  • make the internal anchor text slightly different than what you focus the page content on
  • use variation in anchor text from external link sources, and focus it on slightly different words than you focused the internal linkage on

you will end up ranking for a lot more phrases and will rank more consistently and reliably in Google. Others will bitch about the updates giving them the raw deal and Google being a power grab while you keep getting more and more traffic.

Published: June 29, 2006

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Comments

Alan
July 27, 2006 - 9:13pm

Thanks Aaron. I love all the free tools you offer and your SEO Book. I actually printed all 250+ pages and I keep it right next to my computer for quick access! My thoughts of using software like Keyword Elite was to use it for my Adsense/Yahoo publishing campaigns so I wouldn't use it for SEO. I use your book for that. I was going to add the SEO Elite/Keyword Elite bundle he is offering but I read your post where you no longer recommend it so I'll pass but I might still try the keyword software. If I do I'll come back and let you know my thoughts on it.

June 29, 2006 - 9:13pm

That's fine and good advice, but even if you do that, it can still be one phrase that brings in 90% of visits from search engines. This week I had this problem with a large site with lots of good rankings for different phrases but the majority of the traffic came through on one phrase.
When "holidays in scotland" dropped from page 1 to page 2 in Google, my site visits seriously tanked and I'm in panic mode now to try and get that particular listing back onto page 1.
It doesn't matter that other phrases from the site are still in the top few results - not that many people are searching for them.

June 30, 2006 - 8:22am

Adam I think that's part of what Aaron is talking about. Writing naturally and using sematically related keywords on the same page can lead to that page being found for a variety of similar keyword phrase. It helps to keep the page from relying too much on any one phrase as your seeing.

I've written many blog posts the way Aaron suggests here and they rank well for a variety of related terms. Usually one of two of the words will show up consistently in the search along with a variety of different modifiers. None of the individual terms accounts for a huge amount of traffic, but taken together they make for a significant amount of visits to my site.

By doing that across pages I gain a little more traffic each month, yet I'm still not reliant on any single phrase for that traffic. If my site completely stopped showing up for any single phrase I doubt I'd even notice.

Alan
July 27, 2006 - 9:21am

What is your opinion on keyword research software like Keyword Elite from Brad Callen?

July 27, 2006 - 5:58pm

That software might be useful for creating keyword campaigns for MSN or Yahoo! but I tend to like Google's keyword research tool or my tool more for SEO.

SEO isn't generally about creating endless lists of semi-relevant keywords, it is more about targeting a few of the right keywords and then making sure the pages that target those are highly linguistically related and/or are easy to link at.

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